New Delhi: Every year, December 1 is marked as World AIDS Day, with an aim to unite communities globally to fight against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), support people who are living with the disease, and commemorate those who have died from the illness. The day was founded in 1988 and it remains relevant even today. The day reminds people and governments that HIV is still prevalent. In 1996, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) took over the campaign operations and expanded the scope of the initiative to all year-round prevention and education campaign.
Theme For World AIDS Day 2023
The World AIDS Day focusses on a specific theme, every year, this year, the theme is ‘Let Communities Lead’, to highlight that change depends on a movement and aims to focus on the growing list of challenges in fighting the disease.
Every year, United Nations agencies, governments and civil society come together to campaign for HIV awareness. Donning the red ribbon, the universal symbol of awareness of, support for and solidarity with people living with HIV.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), HIV still remains one of the world’s most significant public health challenges, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. WHO estimates that HIV has claimed 40.4 million lives so far globally.
In India, as per the latest HIV estimates report (2019) of the Government, around 23.49 lakh people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. According to the data, HIV epidemic has been on the decline with estimated annual New HIV infections dropping by 37% between 2010 and 2019.
Treatment For HIV/AIDS
There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with access to effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives. Advances in access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) have also been made and prevents onward transmission of HIV. Globally, 76% of the 39 million people living with HIV in 2022 were receiving ART. Experts say that the progress has also been made in preventing and eliminating mother-to-child transmission and keeping infected mothers alive as well. According to the data, in 2022, 82% of all pregnant women living with HIV, or 1.2 million women, received antiretrovirals (ARVs).
As per WHO, HIV or Human immunodeficiency virus is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the disease that sets in after many years when HIV is left untreated. HIV targets the body’s white blood cells, weakening the immune system. This makes the infected person vulnerable to diseases like Tuberculosis, infections and some cancers. The infection spreads from the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs or sharing food. It can also spread from a mother to her baby. WHO states that the disease spreads more easily in the first few months after a person is infected, but many are unaware of their status until the later stages. In the first few weeks after being infected people may not experience symptoms. Others may have an influenza-like illness including fever, headache, rash, sore throat.
WHO further states that the infection progressively weakens the immune system, which can cause other signs and symptoms LIKE, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, Diarrhoea, cough. Without adequate treatment, people with HIV infection can also develop severe illnesses LIKE, Tuberculosis (TB), Cryptococcal Meningitis, severe bacterial infections, cancers such as lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.